Many doctors still believe that hormonal imbalance is not real.
Research tells us otherwise.
In this episode, I share with you the symptoms of different hormonal profiles.
Other episodes referenced:
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Welcome to episode 36!
You probably know by now that this podcast is all about hormones, hormonal imbalance and how to heal your hormones.
And I wanna use the time today to talk about hormonal imbalance and what it looks like.
I know that there are many, probably thousands of doctors that believe that this problem is not real. But the reality is, that research is starting to show is that it is indeed a massive problem amongst women
Doctors are either ignoring this problem or they are likely uninformed about these conditions and the impact on the lives of women. Research on hormonal imbalance is very new and if your doctor does not have a special interest in women’s or hormonal health, he or she is likely completely unaware of the latest research and the big shift that is happening in women’s health!
I do believe that there is a major shift happening in healthcare and more female healthcare practitioners have experienced the result of a healthcare system that is built on research that was done mainly on men.
It is not serving our bodies and it’s not accommodating our unique hormonal profiles and the fluctuations that we experience on a daily and monthly basis.
The world is definitely changing on that front, but it’s still a long way off from serving women in a way that will really meet the needs of our bodies.
So I guess what I really wanna drive home today, is that hormonal imbalance is a real thing. Even if your healthcare providers are not at the point of acknowledging it yet. IT’s real!
And I wanna share with you some signs of symptoms of hormonal imbalance and just talk a little bit about the different forms of imbalance that we know exist. This does not mean these are the only forms of imbalance, it just means that these are the ones that we know a little bit more about at this stage. And I’m sure it will develop as time goes on.
Also a word on testing here. You have likely been to your doctor requesting that hormone testing be done. First of all, I find that gp’s are very reluctant to do any of this sort of testing. Certainly in new zealand and if I’m right, it’s pretty similar in the US.
If you do however manage to get them to order some tests for you, it’s often incomplete. For instance, when testing for thyroid health, it’s important to test Thyroid stimulating hormone, which is what they generally do, but also T3, T4 and thyroid antibodies, which is what they hardly ever do.
And then, when your results come back, most of the time your doctor will report that these results are within the normal ranges.
Now allow me to have a soap box moment here.
I think it is extremely disrespectful when a doctor requests some bloods and then you just never hear back from them after you’ve had your blood drawn.
I think any patient has the right to know their blood test results without having to try and get hold of a doctor or their nurse. In NZ this is a major issue that I’ve got! We get testing done and then just never hear from the doctors office again, unless you follow up yourself.
And secondly, I can’t even begin to tell you how often I request my clients to get bloods done, and when they ring the doctors office, they are told that everything is normal.
Now because I’ve learned by now, I’m never happy with that outcome so I request to see the results myself. And more often than not, there will be results on there that are clearly outside of the normal ranges! And I find this highly upsetting and concerning that our healthcare practitioners are not paying attention to results as they should!
Ok, so with that out of the way, let me just take a second to talk about “normal ranges.”
Quite often, you’ll see that blood results, specifically for hormones, will come back within the normal ranges, but clearly the patient will have clinical signs of a specific hormonal imbalance. For instance thyroid, this happens very often.
You may be struggling with weight gain, fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, depression, muscle weakness or cramps, low libido, brittle nails and hair, I mean all of the symptoms indicating that the thyroid is not functioning as it should.
But because the results came back within the normal ranges, they refuse to do anything about it and you may even leave their office feeling dismissed and ignored.
What is normal for you is likely to be very different from what is regarded as normal on a blood test result. You may present as normal on a blood test, but feel absolutely rubbish. We need to pay closer attention to clinical signs and symptoms and not rely so heavily on the testing that is done in a lab. Because we know that those normal ranges can look very different for each individual.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is even if you’ve had testing done and were made to believe that everything is normal, don’t accept that as truth.
Keep digging to find the answers.
And let me tell you this, 80% of the work that I do with women, where they get life changing results, is related to correct nutrition, exercise, self care, stress management, dealing with trauma, sleep, and exposure to toxins. Only 20% of the time do we really require pharmaceutical intervention!
So with that in mind, I wanna talk about what hormonal imbalance can look like. Bear in mind also, that there are times in life when hormonal imbalance is normal, such as during puberty, menopause, pregnancy and when you’re breastfeeding. Doesn’t mean that it has to interfere with your quality of life for sure. And when it does, it’s time to find some support from a professional that will help you to identify the root cause and help you find the solutions. Which is what I do!
Also remember that you can actually move from one profile to another. Because with age, changes in circumstances, life cycles, etc, you are likely to move from one profile to another. And therefore it is important to understand first of all what is normal for your body, and second of all, what the different symptoms of your body mean so you can understand what support is required when you do go through changes in your life.
But you certainly do NOT have to accept all of these uncomfortable symptoms as being part of getting older! IT’s simply not true!
Ok so let’s look at the most common signs of imbalance for the different hormonal profiles.
First of all, probably the most common imbalance for women out there, is Low Testosterone.
The symptoms of low testosterone can include
Fatigue around 4-5pm
Generally just feeling meh
Stuff you used to care about you just don’t care about anymore
You may not be as decisive as you used to be
You may find that your hair is thinning
You may struggle to build muscle - I’ve seen this before where ladies train really hard and exercise most days of the week with weights, but simply just don’t put on any muscle mass and don’t lose any weight either.
If this is you, it’s likely that your testosterone is low.
There are a few things that can cause this, such as poor nutrition, being exposed to lots of toxins (this includes all the products in your home which contain fragrances), it can be due to obesity, it can be because of high estrogen and also the use of hormonal birth control.
And the best thing that you can start doing to increase your testosterone levels, is weight training and high intensity exercise to increase your muscle mass, which will lead to an increase in testosterone.
Strength training is so incredibly important for women. But as you may know by now, it’s important to do this kind of exercise during the correct phases of your menstrual cycle so you don’t increase the stress on your body. This is something that I love teaching my students inside the Hormone Health Academy.
So it’s important to adjust your exercise to the phase that you are in your cycle.
It is very rare that we’ll see high testosterone levels in women older than 30. It’s generally more common amongst teens and in the 20’s, as women at this age tend to present more with conditions such as PCOS.
But it’s not impossible to have elevated testosterone, and symptoms of high testosterone include infertility, an enlarged clitoris, facial hair growth, sometimes hair loss on your head and a deepening of your voice.
It can even alter your cholesterol profile.
So if you experience any of these symptoms, I do recommend that you consult with a healthcare practitioner.
The second most common Imbalance amongst women is Estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance doesn’t necessarily mean that you have high levels of estrogen. It could mean that, but you could also have estrogen dominance while having low levels of estrogen. What estrogen dominance really means, is that the balance between estrogen and progesterone is out. You don’t have enough progesterone to balance estrogen, which is critically important.
The symptoms of estrogen dominance typically include weight gain, even while eating almost nothing and exercising a lot. It can include heavy, painful periods, irregular periods, PMS, headaches, low libido, bloating, mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, depression, breast tenderness, endometriosis, fibroids, lumpy breasts, amongst other symptoms that could be unique to you.
There’s a wide variety of things that can lead to estrogen dominance, such as insulin and cortisol imbalance as a result of stress, hormonal contraceptives, poor liver function, a poor diet and exposure to chemicals and toxins.
Exposure to chemicals is a major contributor to estrogen dominance.
So maybe today, start paying attention to all the products in your home that contain fragrances. It can be cleaning products, wax burners, aerosol sprays, beauty products, just think of everything in your home that has a smell!
That would be a fantastic place to start addressing estrogen dominance.
So slowly but surely, as you run out of products, start replacing those with toxin free products.
These chemicals may also be contributing to skin conditions, particularly also in your kids, such as eczema and migraines. So making the effort to swap out these products would really be a massive investment in not only your hormonal health, but your overall health and that of your family!
Then let’s look at low progesterone.
The biggest cause of low progesterone is stress.
Let me just remind you here, we get 3 categories of stress.
Emotional stress and
Physical stress will include not eating a nutritious diet, exercising too much, not sleeping enough, having too much on your plate, etc.
Emotional stress is everything that we tend to worry about on a daily basis and
Environmental stress includes things like toxins, and chemicals.
If your progesterone levels are low, you may be experiencing spotting leading up to your period, tenders breasts just before your period starts or even during ovulation, depressed and anxious moods, mood swings, low libido, low blood sugar, hot flushes, night sweats and poor sleep.
Moving on to Low Estrogen.
If you have low levels of estrogen, you may experience dry skin and mucous membranes, which includes the eyes, mouth lips and vaginal dryness, tender breasts, foggy brain or trouble concentrating, irritability and moodiness, hot flashes and night sweats, irregular periods or no periods, weight gain, especially around your tummy, headaches before and during your period, low lib ido, painful intercourse, fatigue and having trouble sleeping.
I wanna also take a few minutes to talk about unregulated Insulin. Although insulin is not a sex hormone, it has a major affect on the sex hormones. So it’s really important that you understand how to regulate your insulin levels, but the most common symptoms of unregulated insulin include:
Feeling hungry after eating, especially 1-2 hours after a meal;
Experiencing energy slumps and feeling run down, especially towards the end of the day. I hear ladies talk about this afternoon slump all the time.
You have trouble falling asleep at night
You feel jittery and or anxious
Experiencing hunger headaches; or
The inability to focus or feeling unproductive
I highly recommend that you also listen to episode 24, where you’ll learn all about blood glucose and insulin and the major effect it has on your sex hormones and how to regulate your insulin levels. I’ll link to that episode in the show notes.
Unregulated insulin has a major implication on the reproductive system and is also closely linked with estrogen dominance, so please go and listen to episode 24.
There’s probably a lot more that can be said about hormonal imbalance, but my goal today was just to put the spotlight on the fact that the symptoms that you are likely experiencing, are not normal after kids or as we age.
It’s likely due to hormonal imbalance and it really is not complicated to address hormonal imbalance. You just need somebody that is invested in women’s health, that searches out the latest research on the topic and that can translate that to daily habits for you.
So I’ve got you covered.
If you would love to learn more about this, make sure you join my next free THRIVE coaching experience, which will be kicking off on the 25th of September Eastern Time. It includes 5 days of free coaching, inside of zoom, with a workbook to help you take action so you can start healing your body.
You can register by going to www.vandghie.com/5days and I’ll also post that link in the show notes.
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Ok my friends, thanks again for being here.
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Until next time
Bye for now